(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

The Dawning of Deliverance is the fifth book in The Russians series about the Fedorcenko family and other individuals in pre-revolutionary Russia. Judith Pella collaborated with Michael R. Phillips on the first four novels, then Pella continued the series on her own. The book, after a prologue that summarizes the earlier installments in the series, opens with Mariana traveling by train across the vastness of Russia to Manchuria to take up a position as nurse during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Twenty-three and unmarried, she is troubled by memories of Daniel Trent, an American journalist who betrayed her trust nearly four years ago. Mariana is conscious of a desire to help the suffering and is aware that her physical journey has a spiritual dimension.

When she arrives at the north end of the Liaoyang Peninsula, she is immediately needed to nurse wounded Russian soldiers. In the midst of this exhausting labor, she meets Daniel again and wonders if God is giving her a second chance with him. She learns that his father has died, but Daniel does not reveal that his search for God has lapsed.

Meanwhile in St. Petersburg, Mariana’s foster father, Prince Sergei Fedorcenko has escaped from exile in Siberia and is living under the name of Sergei Christinin. He decides he must teach working men to read and write to compensate God for his goodness to his family. Cyril, Count Vlasenko, now in possession of Sergei’s St. Petersburg estate, schemes to become minister of the interior. The scene moves to Geneva, where Vladimir Lenin works for revolution, before it returns to Manchuria.

Mariana, now in Port Arthur, saves the war hero Captain Barsukov from the unnecessary amputation of his leg by the incompetent Dr. Vlasenko, son of Count Vlasenko. Daniel, in search of a story, bribes his way to Port Arthur, where, during a shelling by the Japanese, he comforts Mariana, although he himself is frightened. Mariana suddenly has an insight that she will marry either Barsukov or Daniel.

The scene shifts back to St. Petersburg, where the delight of the czar and his wife at the birth of a son, Alexis, is shattered when the baby seems subject to mysterious bleeding. There is social unrest as well: Father George Gapon, although loyal to the czar, is founding unions for workers. The...

(The entire section is 950 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Hudak, Melissa. Review of Passage into Light, by Judith Pella. Library Journal 123, no. 18 (November 1, 1998): 66. A review of the seventh novel in The Russians series takes the Fedorcenko family in 1917 and the start of the Russian Revolution.

Hudak, Melissa. Review of White Nights, Red Mornings, by Judith Pella. Library Journal 122, no. 2 (February 1, 1997): 68. This review of the sixth book in The Russians series focuses on Anna’s children and their differing political views.

Mort, John. Review of Mark of the Cross, by Judith Pella. Booklist 102, no. 16 (April 15, 2006): 28. A review of one of Pella’s numerous historical romances, which may be compared with those in The Russians series.

Pella, Judith. The author’s personal Web site, with sections headed “Book List,” “About Judith,” “FAQ,” and with details of a newsletter and links.